I remember that Sir James Barrie wrote humorously about the original Holy Grail blend, to which he gave the fictitious name of The Arcadia Mixture. I've found mine, at a time in a 50 year pipe smoking career in which I thought nothing new would overly excite me when it comes to blends. And I was right - this is nothing new. It's very old. How I missed it back in the day, I don't know. Wow. I received one ounce (yes, alas, just 1oz) of Edgeworth Red that has been cellared by an excellent tobacconist's establishment since the 1970s. I don't know if they reinfused it with brandy before a friend of mine received the sample and sent some to me, or it was some magic in the cellaring process. But the Edgeworth base is smoother than I've ever tasted in any iteration of this tobacco. The fusion of the sweetness of the brandy (or whatever liquor was used) conjoined with the type of tobacco and the aging/cellaring is, at the risk of being accused of using perfervid prose, heavenly. The sweetness does not cloy and the tobacco flavor is not only retained but enhanced, and made the most palatable of any pipe tobacco I remember ever smoking. On a class by itself among all the categories. And no longer to be had, as this product has been defunct for years. But I decided to post this review to stand witness to a past greatness that afaik remains unmatched, and that by a mile. A long mile. I am not exaggerating, even though on the basis of just one ounce.
Edit: I subsequently learned that the sample came from a tin that had been sealed all those years. Patches of rust were found inside the tin when opened but that the liner wrapper kept the tobacco not adversely effected and retaining/acquiring this incredible flavor. The buddy who sent it to me explained that Edgeworth Red was infused with birch and brandy, a combination that obviously really worked. What I find really stunning is that an aromatic has aged so well, a first one in my experience. Why on earth did they ever discontinue this blend? Was it Marketing's fault? P.S. I later did get hold of one of those tubs, i.e., the one in the picture I uploaded to this review page.
Pipe Used: Ferndown Tudor Root 3 Star 3/4th bent billiard.
This review is based on a newly opened tub from the 1970s. The first thing that I noticed when I popped the lid was the smell and taste of brandy, birch and burley. The brandy and birch toppings are smooth and rather mild as they well compliment the tobacco taste. The earthy, woody burley is much more (very) nutty than molasses sweet, and I detect no cocoa, and as noted, is the star tobacco. The Virginia is a little grassy with a bare touch of citrus. The perique is a very minor component, and has light spice note all the way through. The Oriental is slightly buttery, smoky, spicy and woody, showing itself just above level as the spicy, raisiny perique. The Cyprian latakia also offers a smoky, woody push with a touch of sweetness and is just a shade more obvious than the Oriental and perique. It’s hard to say how much time may have affected this mixture, but I believe the diminishment is not much at all. The nic-hit is mild. The strength is mild, and taste is mild to medium. Burns cool and clean at a moderate pace with a smooth, spicy, mildly savory delicately butteriness with no dull or harsh spots, and a very consistent flavor. Burns to ash with little trouble, and needs few relights. Hardly leaves any moisture in the bowl. It’s an easy going all day smoke with a nice after taste and room note.
Sexy ! I got a sample from Jim and smoked some today ... damn ! It lit like nothing ! The aromatic flavor was a trip ! It is smooooth . I really think Jim should give me all that he has being I taught him everything he knows . It would be a good start :) I also don't know how to compare it to a fresh tin [ that doesn't exist anymore ] .. but for what it is , I really enjoy it , and when this sample is gone .. bummer .
I was very lucky to have a friend share a sample of this from the 70's. It was an enjoyable smoke, but nothing really to write home about. I think that the best days of this blend had past it by a few decades ago as I can't imagine this blend tasting as it did to me in 2016, to be equal to a piper in the early 1970's.
While their was a nuttiness that came about as a combination of the many tobaccos used, they all seemed somewhat muted. The latakia to my tastes was nearly non existent. The topping or what was left of it was hard to identify. I think it to be some licquer of a sort. It is suggested in the other reviews that there is birch. I was puzzled by this and later it was explained to me that there is such a thing as birch beer. I have never tasted nor even heard of it. It was explained that this is similar to root beer. This does make sense as I can see getting that type of flavor from this blend. I will now have to add Birch beer to my list of drinks to try, so I know what the fuss is about.
To me the blend was nutty sweet, but only slightly so. I believe that the bulk of the topping has flashed off over time, but it could be that this blend was lightly topped by design. After all, I find SWRA to be a lightly topped blend.
Reviewing a blend like this is always problematic to me, because I don't think I experienced this in a way a piper in 1970 would have experienced this. Actually in the beginning of 1970 my only tasting experience would have been breast milk having only been born a few months before.
So I have to rate this based on today and for my review, I will assume that any Edgeworth Aromatic would be as mine was. With that in mind I am giving this one two stars. It was enjoyable enough, but I would be lying if I didn't say I would rather be smoking on a fresh bowl of SWRA for the actual flavor of it all. Also, by going into the recommended range of 3 or 4 stars, I am advocating paying big bucks on a discontinued blend when said big bucks can be better used elsewhere. But I can't give it one star as it did not taste like cardboard, nor was it unsmokeable and finally, the Edgeworth legend deserves better than that.
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